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State

Capital

Kashmir*

Srinagar

Currency unit

Indian rupee/Pakistan rupee

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India

Islam

South Asia

Pakistan

War

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History

Does the name really mean "false teacher" (kash Mir), as is claimed by some writers? This favored area - beautiful scenery, moderate climate, high in the foothills of the Himalaya - is going through a bad time. During the period of British rule in India, Kashmir was a Native State. That is, it was not ruled directly by the British but was ruled indirectly by the local king (Maharajah). The British supplied a Political Resident who supervised the government of the state.

On Indian independence in 1948 the Native States were supposed to decide whether to join India or Pakistan.

The majority in Kashmir were and are Muslim and would have been expected to join Pakistan, if asked. They were never asked. The Hindu Maharajah decided for them, and joined India. (Nehru, the prime minister of India, came from Kashmir.) Some would argue that the last British viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, should have dealt with the problem before Britain withdrew, but he believed his main task was to get Britain out as quickly as possible.

Ever since, there has been a desire for a reversal of this decision and a call by opposition parties for a referendum. Pakistan invaded and occupied part of the state, known as Azad (Free) Kashmir. The rest remains in India, but frequently under military rule. Even now, only a referendum would solve the problem.

In late 2001 and early 2002 the dispute flared up when alleged Kashmiri terrorists killed people in the Indian Parliament, threatening to provoke a war between India and Pakistan. There have been allegations that Osama bin Laden's Qaeda group may be have some influence, and also that President Musharraf had been encouraging the fighters when he was chief of the Pakistani army. If so, this was dangerous work.

In 2004-5 there were signs of relaxation. A bus route has opened to allow divided families to meet across the Line of Control. Can talks between Musharraf and the Indian government result in a permanent peace treaty?

More terrorist attacks in India, such as the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, and several earlier attacks, seem to be inspired by the Kashmir problem.

Languages

 Justine Hardy - In the Valley of Mist
- lives of ordinary people during the turmoil of the rebellion as the Militants try to drive the Hindus out of the Valley


In the Valley of Mist: Kashmir's long war: one family's extraordinary story

 History

 Economics

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Politics

There have been elections in the Indian part but as the people always elect the Muslim Congress which presses for autonomy and even secession to Pakistan, elected governments are frequently replaced by President's Rule - the administrator is appointed by the Indian government. The real power is held by the Indian military.

 History

 Politics

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Economics

The tourism business has faded away because of the fighting, and the kidnapping of foreigners.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

 History

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 Green

Human Rights

Police and army accused of atrocities. Also the guerrillas. A fanatical group, accused of exploding bombs on Indian trains and elsewhere - Lashkar e Taiba - is claimed to be one of the anti-Indian groups in Kashmir. They may have been responsible for the November 2008 massacres in Mumbai (Bombay).

Last revised 26/08/10


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